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Relocating to Spain...EW guide to healthcare, education, expat clubs and more

Relocating to Spain...EW guide to healthcare, education, expat clubs and more

Living in Spain

Expats moving to Spain are greeted by three distinct pleasures: landscape, architecture and food. Spain’s geography is as vast as its size; the sunbaked coasts of Costa del Sol, the cliffs and mountain ranges of Sierra Nevada, the lazy temperament of the Mediterranean and the bustle of the streets of Madrid and Barcelona. Art and architecture are in perfect harmony, pronouncedly expressed and evident in the Spanish skyline (it is the home of Salvador Dali). And food connoisseurs, even novice ones, will find that the gastronomic delights of Spain comes not only from complex concoctions and techniques, but also from the simplicity, straightforward hearty traditions, handed down from generation to generation. There’s a lot to experience in Spain, with so little time; but if you’re staying for long, have a look at our handy guide while you gorge on tapas.

Spain Toledo

Expat Clubs

American Society of Barcelona (ASB)
Functions as a non-political and non-profit organization and strives to be the focal point for people who are interested in developing and maintaining business and social relationships in an international environment.
 Website: www.amersoc.com
American Women's Club of Madrid
Founded as a charitable, non-profit organization in March of 1954. Throughout the years, the club has been a meeting place for an interaction between women of all nationalities. And since the beginning, the members of AWC Madrid have served the community through personal activities and by raising funds to support a multitude of charitable organizations.
Address: Plaza República del Ecuador 6, 28016 Madrid, Spain
Website: www.awcmadrid.com
Barcelona Newcomer's Club
A group for newcomers, expats and residents of Barcelona who enjoy meeting other people and sharing experiences. Our goal is to present all that Catalunya has to offer, through the participation of those born and bred here, recently-arrived expats and long-time residents.
Tel: +34 663 380 606
Email: info@barcelonanewcomersclub.com
Website: www.barcelonanewcomersclub.com
Barcelona Women's Network
An international group of women who live in and around Barcelona. We meet to socialise, do business, support each other and above all, enjoy life in and around this vibrant city.
Email: membership@bcnwomensnetwork.com
FB: www.facebook.com/barcelonawomensnetwork?ref=ts
Website: www.bcnwomensnetwork.com
Costa Women
Costa Women is a social network community for expat women living on the Costa del Sol. The site has been set up to build a community of women to share friendship, support and knowledge about living on the Costa.
Website: costawomen.ning.com  
International Women's Club of Barcelona
A multinational network open for all English-speaking women. Our aim is to provide a welcome environment, to establish friendships, enhance knowledge, and offer support when needed. The IWCB has been a successful voluntary organisation in Barcelona for nearly 60 years.
Address: Casa Orlandai, C/Jaume Piquet 23, 08017 Barcelona, Spain
Email: info@iwcbarcelona.com
Website: www.iwcbarcelona.com

International Schools 

Almuñecar International School
AIS is an English medium, independent school for children aged 3 to 19 years old. Founded in 1989, and owned by a consortium of parents on a 'not for profit' basis, we were established to serve Spanish and expatriate families looking for an affordable British style education for their children. AIS is situated in Almuñécar on the Costa Tropical, with a fast road network serving a wide catchment area including Torrox, Nerja, Motril and Granada.
Curriculum: British
Address: Avda. Capitan Rodriguez, Urb. Los Pinos, 18690 Almunecar, Granada, Spain
Tel: +34 958635911
Fax: +34 958639003
Email: almunecaris@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.almunecarinternationalschool.org   
Aloha College
Aloha College offers a British-style education for the international community, at the same time offering education in Spanish language and culture, enabling students to gain qualifications from both the British and Spanish examination systems.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Urb. El Angel, Nueva Andalucía, 29660 - Marbella, Málaga. Spain
Tel: (+34) 95 281 4133
Fax: (+34) 95 281 8523
Website: www.aloha-college.com   
American School of Madrid
The American School of Madrid (ASM) is a private, independent, not-for-profit co-educational day school for children in grades pre-k (age 3) through 12 (age 17/18). Currently, the school enrolls approximately 800 students from over 50 countries around the world.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Apartado, 80, Madrid, 28080, Spain
Tel: +34 91 740 1900
Fax: +34 91 357 2678
Email: admissions@asmadrid.org
Website: www.amerschmad.org   
British School Alzira
British School Alzira is a British Educational centre located in Aguas Vivas Valley, unique for its beauty and colors. The School building is full of history and art.
Curriculum: British
Address: Carrer Camí Tavernes, 11, 46600 Alzira, Valencia, Spain
Tel: +34.902.123.883 / +0034.962.589.368
Email: bsalzira@bsalzira.com
Website: www.bsalzira.com   
British School Of Valencia
British School of Valencia is a private school offering British education to students of all nationalities aged between 2 and 18 years.
Curriculum: British
Address: Avda Peris y Valero 53, 55, 57 46006 Valencia, Spain
Tel: (+34) 96 374 29 30
Fax: (+34) 96 334 96 10
Email: informacion@bsvalencia.com
Website: www.bsvalencia.com  
British Yeoward School
The British School of Tenerife is a new school with a lot of experience and history behind it. Founded by the merging of two schools in the north of Tenerife, Trinity School and the International British Yeoward School the new school is an exciting mix of the best of both schools.
Curriculum: British
Website: www.britishschooltenerife.com
Caxton College
Caxton College is a British co-educational private and located in Valencia, in the Mediterranean basin, which provides educational project integrated children and adolescents from 1-18 years.
Curriculum: British
Address: Mas de León 5 - 46530 Puçol (Valencia) Spain
Tel: (+34) 96 142 45 00
Website: www.caxtoncollege.com  
Colegio Europa International School
Europa International School is an educational institution founded in 1996 by a group of education professionals led by the Herranz-Frias family who, after more than 40 years dedicated to teaching and managing schools, created a unique space conceived to develop a different approach to education, specially designed to encourage growth and all-round learning.
Curriculum: British
Address: Av. Pla del Vinyet, 110, 08172 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona (Spain)
Tel: +34 935 89 84 20
Website: www.europais.com  
El Limonar International School
The academic objectives lie within the framework of the philosophy of El Limonar International School: to demonstrate oral and written fluency in English and Spanish language; to develop communicative ability based on structured and agile thinking; to encourage a critical, open and enquiring mind through logical mathematical and scientific thinking, and a true interiorisation of biculturalism.
Website: www.ellimonarinternational.com  
Hastings School
Since 1971 HastingsSchool has offered a British international educational experience to the children of expatriates and embassy employees in Madrid and to the children of global minded Spaniards. There are approximately 35 nationalities represented amongst our 600 pupils aged between 2 and 18 years of age.
Curriculum: British
Address (Early Years): Pso de la Habana, 204. 28036 Madrid, Spain
Tel: 91 359 06 21
Fax: 91 359 35 21
Address (Primary): C/ Bendición de Campos, 5. 28036 Madrid, Spain
Tel. 91 010 70 62
Fax. 91 230 63 03
Address (Secondary): C/ Azulinas, 8. 28036 Madrid, spain
Tel. 91 359 99 13
Fax: 91 359 35 21
Email: info@hastingsschool.com
Website: www.hastingsschool.com  
International School Estepona
The International School Estepona is a British School following The British National Curriculum in Spain to ensure a seamless transition to and from any other British School whether in The UK or overseas. The School was founded in 2004.
Curriculum: British
Address: Centro Commercial La Zarza Calle Azahar, Urbanisation El Paraiso, Estepona 29688, Spain
Tel: (+34) 952 88 47 89
Fax: (+34) 952 886 926
Website:  www.marbellaschool.com  
International College Spain
International College Spain is the only school in Madrid to offer the full International Baccalaureate Curriculum in English.  It is a day school offering primary and secondary education in English to boys and girls of all nationalities from 3 to 18 years of age.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Calle Vereda Norte 3, La Moraleja, 28109, Madrid
Tel: +34 91 650 2398
Fax: +34 91 650 1035
Email: icsinfo@wclschools.org
Website: www.icsmadrid.org  
International School of Madrid
Since 1971 the International School of Madrid has been providing students with a broad and balanced British education. Now home to over 700 students aged between 3 to 18, the school follows the English National Curriculum and is known for its child centred approach, happy atmosphere and high standards of academic achievement.
Curriculum: British
Address (Primary): C/ Rosa Jardón, 3   28016   Madrid, Spain
Address (Secondary): C/ Serrano Galvache, 13   28033   Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 302 30 80, +34 91 302 44 73
Fax:+34 91 302 66 53
Email: secondary@internationalschoolofmadrid.com
Website: www.internationalschoolofmadrid.com
King's College of Madrid
In 1969 our first British school was founded in Madrid. Since then we have provided children with a rigorous and broad British education. Pupils from our British schools in Madrid go on to study at the best British universities as well as those in Spain, Europe and North America.
Curriculum: British
Address: Paseo de los Andes,35, Soto de Viñuelas, Madrid, 28761, Spain
Tel: +34 918 034 800
Fax: +34 918 036 557
Email: info@kingscollege.es
Website: www.kingscollege.es                
Lyceé Francais
The Lycée is run directly by the Agency for French Education Abroad (A.E.F.E.), which ensures a public education service for French children, helps promote French language and culture by admitting foreign pupils, participates in strengthening cooperative relations between the French and foreign educational systems, and helps families through grants for French children. Its management is ensured according to French accounting standards by a French civil servant, its budget being approved by the A.E.F.E. and its financial accounts being subject to review by the Court of Auditors.
Curriculum: French
Address: Bosch i Gimpera 6-10 BARCELONA 08034
Tel: +34-93-203-79-50
Fax: +34-93-205-67-58
Email: lfb@lfb.es
Website: www.lycee-francais-barcelone.com  
Mayfair International Academy
Mayfair International Academy is an international school based on the Costa del Sol providing education for children aged 3 to 18, following the British curriculum.
Curriculum: British
Address: Avda. De Las Golondrinas, Atalaya Park, Estepona, Málaga, 29680, Spain
Tel: +34 952 78 49 23
Fax: +34 952 78 93 81
Email: info@mayfairacademy.com
Website: www.mayfairacademy.com  
The American School of Barcelona
ASB is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the IB Diploma Program.
Curriculum: American
Address: C/ Jaume Balmes 7, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 93 371 4016 / +34 93 371 5012
Fax: +34 93 473 4787
Email: info@a-s-b.com
Website: www.a-s-b.com  
The American School Of Valencia
The American School of Valencia traces its roots to 1974 when it was founded by American and British families. The school now has 750 students from nursery to 12th Grade.
Curriculum: American
Address: Urb. Los Monasterios. Avda. Sierra Calderona, 29. 46530 Puzol (Valencia), Spain
Tel: +34 96 140 54 12.
Fax.+34 96 140 50 39
Email: asvalencia@asvalencia.org            
Website: www.asvalencia.org  
The English International College
The English International College in Marbella, Spain, is a school that offers The English National Curriculum in an international context to more than 500 boys and girls of many nationalities aged three to eighteen years. Students sit IGCSE and GCSE examinations in Year 11 and those who qualify to enter the Sixth Form study for AS levels and A2 (A) level examinations in preparation for university entrance at 18.
Curriculum: British
Address: Urb. Ricmar, Crtr. de Cádiz - Málaga Km. 189,5(A7), 29604 Marbella, Málaga, España.
Tel: +(34) 952 831 058/9
Fax: +(34) 952 838 992
Email: information@eic.edu
Website: www.eic.edu  
The English School
The English School of Mutxamel opened its doors in September of 2002 in response to a growing demand from parents within the area. In January 2003, the school obtained British Council certification and in February of the same year, authorisation from the local education authority (the Generalitat Valenciana).
Curriculum: British
Address: Calle Pintor Gisbert, 3Mutxamel 03110, Alicante, Spain
Tel: 965 95 10 17
Email: info@theenglishschool.es
Website: www.theenglishschool.es  

Local News in English

Typically English
Typically Spanish came online in 1999, initially as a Spanish Directory, and from 2001 we have been providing a news service about Spain in English.
Website: www.typicallyspanish.com
El Pais
Look for El Pais in the right hand column. Pages only available in.pdf.
Website: global.nytimes.com/?iht

Country Information 

Location: Europe
Capital City: Madrid
Other Important Cities: Alicante, Andalucia, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Granada, Ibiza, Malaga, Mallorca, Murcia, San Sabastan, Seville, Valencia
Currency: Euro €
Language: Spanish
Calling Code: +34
Internet TLD: .es

Electricity:  Spain runs on 220V 50 Hz. The largest provider of electricity in the country is Endesa.
Website: www.endesa.com/en
Emergency Numbers: 112
Country Information

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Schengen visa regulations apply for certain countries entering Spain. Visa applications are coursed through the Spanish embassy or consulate. Short-term visas, for tourism for under 90 days, and long-term, for work/residence/studies for more than 90 days, are available for expats.

Long-term visas, or residence visas are processed before the applicant travels to the country, through a Spanish embassy or consulate. Applicants should have completed the application visa application form, and have a valid passport, minimum 6 months, proof of finances, accommodation and other relevant documents – depending on the purpose of visit.

Supporting documents for tourism or private reasons:
  1. A supporting document from the establishment providing accommodation or a letter of invitation from a private individual hosting the foreigner concerned in their home, issued by the Police Station of their place of residence.
IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances shall the letter of invitation replace the foreigner's accreditation of all other entry requirements.
  1. Confirmation of the booking of an organised trip, indicating the itinerary.
  2. A return or round-trip ticket.
In order to accredit economic means, the provisions of Order PRE/1282/2007, of 10 May, on economic means, shall be taken into account; foreigners must prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence available in order to enter Spain. The minimum amount that must be accredited is € 64.53 per person per day, with a minimum of € 580.77 or its legal equivalent in foreign currency.
Supporting documents for professional reasons:
  1. Invitation from a company or from an authority to participate in meetings, conferences, etc., either commercial, business, etc.
  2. Document proving the existence of commercial or business relations, etc.
  3. Access cards to trade fairs, congresses, conferences, etc.
  4. Invitations, entrance cards, bookings or programmes indicating, as far as possible, the name of the hosting organization and the duration of the stay, or any other document indicating the purpose of the visit.
-          From the Ministry of External Relations website >>

Upon arrival, under a residence visa, expats must apply for a residence permit at the Oficina de Extranjeros with these documents:
  • Valid passport and copy
  • Three passport size color photos
  • Completed application form, 3 copies
  • Proof of residence in Spain
  • Payment receipt of administration fees, stamped by a bank
Expats will be issued a residency card and an NIE or Numero de Identidad de Extranjero. Both of these are important to present especially when transacting with government services. 


It is important, foremost, to learn basic to intermediate Spanish; this will help facilitate communication between parties, either the landlord or the real estate agents. If that’s not possible, having a bilingual Spaniard to come along is the best option. City guide books are also helpful in getting around and familiarizing oneself with the surrounding areas especially the streets.

For expats, initially they will consider renting accommodations. The easiest, but not the cheapest way to secure accommodations in Spain is through real estate agencies. These institutions will play as intermediaries between landlords and tenants; their services will cut short the search time, at a price. An alternative way is through online property websites. This is especially helpful in finding shared accommodations for expats looking for cheaper options. Idealista.com is a helpful site that has a searchable database, classifying properties per type and per area/city; it is also in English: www.idealista.com/en

Rental contracts in Spain are easy and straightforward; but it is still important for expats to understand how the system works, especially if it’s written in another language. Contracts run for a year and is renewable. It’s important before signing to run an inventory of the fixtures or furniture that exist prior to moving in; this will be important in getting back full deposit. Expats should insist on a written contract to protect both tenant and landlord. Deposits are usually 1 or 2 months’ rent, depending if the unit is furnished or not. Utilities may or may not be included in the rent, make sure this is stipulated clearly. Written guarantees such as pay slips, proof of income, or any financial documents may be required by the landlord; this also includes a bank guarantee.

The main cities to look out for are Madrid and Barcelona. These cities are central hubs of commerce, industry and businesses; they are also where major corporations are situated. For expat families, international schools, medical facilities will be in these areas. Expat communities will also be present in both Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid, in terms of accommodations, is going to be a challenge; it will be tricky to find a balance between price and quality. The bright side, the higher priced unites are in the city center, so outside the center, expats will find cheaper, spacious and well-equipped housing. Madrid is a safe city, that’s another plus especially for expats with families. There are also plenty of international schools for expat parents to choose from. International. Medical and government services are also within reach.

Barcelona is a densely populated city. High-rise apartments are plentiful, however quality is average to poor. The beautiful thing about accommodation in Barcelona, is there is a good balance of residential and commercial areas in each barrio; residents will be in close distance to facilities and amenities.Rental prices here are much lower compared to other European cities. Single bedroom apartments start at $680 per month. 

Driving License

Expats may use their domestic license in conjunction with an international license to drive legally in Spain for up to six months. Expats who become legal residents in Spain then has to apply for a Spanish license. Within the six month period, expat residents should have registered with traffic authorities; this is required before applying for a local license.
Expats from countries without reciprocal agreements with Spain, will have to take a driving test from a recognized institution. The written exams will be in Spanish, but there are some who administer them in English.

Documents required for Spanish driving license application:
  • Completed application form from the local traffic department
  • Spanish residence permit and copy of the same
  • Current domestic / foreign license and copy of the same
  • Sworn statement that the domestic / foreign license was not suspended.
  • Fee
  • Proof of address within 3 months, from the local town hall
  • Two passport size photos
For more information please visit: www.dgt.es/es


Expats can expect high quality, and above average standard of healthcare services in Spain. Both public and private facilities are available, yet even citizens find the public services are adequate for basic to complex treatments. Private institutions sometimes refer patients to public hospitals with better equipment and facilities. Expats wishing to avail of these services will have to obtain a social security card, once they have registered on the Empadronamiento at their local municipality. Patients under state-healthcare are assigned a physician; they are not offered a choice.

Private healthcare is preferable only to avoid the long queue and to access more options in terms of treatments and physicians available. These private facilities are also above average standard. They are also comfortable, offering private rooms for individual patients. However it’s expensive.

Employed expats would normally have private health insurance included in their contracts. If not, expats are urged to obtain one in case they prefer going to private hospitals. It’s also important to note that insurance coverage can mean either of two things: insurance pay the bills directly, or, reimburses the patient after incurring the expense.

Insurance Companies

Allianz Spain
Allianz Seguros offers a wide range of financial and insurance products throughout its agent/broker network. Allianz Seguros is also present in the direct channel through its subsidiary Fenix Directo (specializing in direct insurance).
Address: Paseo de la Castellana 95, Planta 14, Edificio Torre Europa, 28046 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34.91.4177767
Fax +34.91.4177999
Website: www.allianz.es
Hospital La Paz
La Paz University Hospital is a public hospital, part of the Community of Madrid, located in the north of Madrid. Since the opening of the General Hospital in July 1964, its appearance has changed and grown into the large hospital complex we know today, consisting of a network of 17 buildings and four major hospitals: the General Hospital, the Maternity Hospital, Children's Hospital and the Hospital of Traumatology and Rehabilitation.
Address: Paseo de la Castellana, 261, Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 917 27 70 00
Website: www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?pagename=HospitalLaPaz/Page/HPAZ_home
HM Hospitales
HM Hospitals born with the launch of HM Universitario Madrid today, the first of six centers that currently in the Community of Madrid, next to HM Universitario Montepríncipe, University Torrelodones HM, HM Universitario Sanchinarro, the Comprehensive Cancer Center Clara Campal (CIOCC) annexed to the latter hospital, and HM New Bethlehem University.
Address: Av Castillo Olivares, 28250 Torrelodones, Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 902 08 88 59
Website: www.hmhospitales.com
Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal
The Ramón y Cajal University Hospital is a public hospital, part of the Community of Madrid, located in the north of Madrid. This health center cultivates the three aspects of a hospital in its class. Healthcare, teaching and research since its opening in October 1977, has a research department consisting Services Bioelectromagnetics, Histology, Biochemistry and Neurobiology.
Address: Ctra. de Colmenar Viejo km. 9,100, 28034 Madrid
Tel: 91 336 80 00
Website: www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?pagename=HospitalRamonCajal/Page/HRYC_home
Clinica Fuensanta
Address: Arturo Soria 17, Madrid, 28027, Spain
Tel: +34 914 02 92 95
Clinica MEDYR
Clinica MEDYR offers sports medicine and rehabilitation.
Address: c/ Hernani 54, Madrid, 28020, Spain
Tel: +34 91 536 0029
Fax: +34 91 553 0414
Website: medyr.net/en
Barcelona Spine Center
They are one of the leading centers that specializes in minimal invasive spinal technology. They also pioneered Artificial Disc Replacement ADR.
Address: Independencia 384-386, Entlo. Desp 6, Barcelona, 8041, Spain
Tel: +34 934 507 598
Fax: +34 934 565 809
Website: www.doctorclavel.com/en-ws
Centre Medico Tecno
Address: Viana 12, Barcelona, 8022, Spain
Tel: +34 93 290 62 00
Fax: +34 93 211 26 90
Website: www.teknon.es
Hospital Quiron Barcelona
Address: Plaza Alfonso Comín, 5-7, Barcelona, 8023, Spain
Tel: +34 902 44 44 46
Fax: +34 9 3210 7561
Website (Spanish): www.quiron.es/es


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